Bills TE Dawson Knox: “I feel like I’m ready to make a big leap” in year two

Sports

Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox, right, catches a pass in front of New England Patriots safety Patrick Chung the first half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Bills tight end Dawson Knox is already referred to as “Mr. Stiff Arm” by new teammate Stefon Diggs.

“He’s called me that a couple times in the locker room I mean any compliment from him I’ll take,” Knox laughed.

Knox showed flashes of promise during his first season in the NFL. Fans remember him stiff-arming a Bengals defender then running over another right after for a monster play. He also had some highlight reel catches throughout the season where he showed promise. Knox led the Bills’ tight ends with 28 catches for 388 yards and two touchdowns.

And now he’s ready to make that jump from year one to year two.

“I felt like year one was a tough year just because it was my first year in the league, trying to keep my head above water, I kind of just felt like I was treading water the whole time,” Knox said on a zoom call with reporters.

“Finally towards the end of the season I felt like I was able to kind of start playing faster, not really thinking about where I’m lining up and what I’m looking at presnap and more just playing freely. “

Continuity is key especially for the development of young players and that is a plus for Knox with a year under his belt in offensive coordinator Brian Daboll’s offense.

“I’m really excited having the same playbook with Daboll and just the same connections so just continuing to build on everything we did last year I’m really excited to see what this year’s gonna be like. I feel like I’m ready to make a big leap,” Knox explained.

With any rookie season, there comes growing pains. For Knox that was in the form of struggling with drops and he knows that’s an area he has to clean up. It was a big focus for him to fix this offseason.

“It was mostly just training my eyes. I realized most of the issues I had were on the easier balls where Josh would put a great ball right on my chest and I would already be kind of looking to make someone miss before I secured that,” Knox said.

That’s not the only thing he wants to improve in order to make an even bigger impact.

“Even blocking wise I want to get better in pass protection. I kind of want to be able to be out there and do whatever they need me to do and I don’t want to be a guy that they have to take off when they run certain packages,” Knox said.

The production from the Bills’ tight ends overall was below average as they only had 46 catches by tight ends in 2019. That was ranked 26th in the league and the average was 74. But one thing that should benefit the Bills tight ends this year is the addition of Stefon Diggs.

“I think having Stef there on the outside you know I think that’s gonna open up the middle for me a lot because defenses are gonna respect him and then with Smoke [John Brown] and Cole [Beasley] I mean our receiving core is gonna be special. It’s gonna be really fun to watch those guys and hopefully sometimes I’ll get a little checkdown ball here and there but there’s also gonna be some good plays where down the field number one or number two in the progression so I think it’s gonna be similar to last year,” Knox explained.

He also said 49er’s tight end George Kittle is his favorite player to watch and even trained with him during the offseason.

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